Monday, April 19, 2010

DC Photo Opportunity

So here is a Vermont Arts Council photo with Senator Leahy in front of Susan Abbott's work in the Curator's Choice Tour at the Russell Rotunda in Washington DC. A better photo from Leahy's office will be coming later, I think.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Alter(ed) Ego, Family & Friends at Flynndog in Burlington

Before I headed out for DC (see below), I put up an installation I called Stepping Into My Mother's Shoes (and genes, and brain, and…) in the new show at Flynndog called Alter(ed) Ego, Family & Friends. The show will be up from April 9 - May 30, and there will be an opening reception during the First Friday Art Walk in Burlington on Friday, May 7, from 6-8 PM. Most of the show was installed on April 7, after all the artists got together to hear and read each other's statements and bios.

My piece used my paintings (and my mother's drawings) from our collaboration called Jungian Journey. Additionally, there was a dress affixed to the wall with buttons, and a pair of my mother's baby shoes. I've printed my statement about the piece underneath the photo below, which was taken by Tina Escaja, one of the artists. It was dark at night, so I'll try to take a brighter photo the next time I'm there during the daytime.

Stepping Into My Mother's Shoes
(and genes, and brain, and…)

There's something about long-time relationships - whether with family, friends, or colleagues - that makes us real, by which I mean that when we share history and experience, it grounds us in time and space. For example, having participated in exhibits here at Flynndog many times in the past makes me know this space, know Bren, and be known by them. We all have many people and places that are part of our circles of intimacy, whom we know and by whom we are known. Our relationship with parents is particularly rich and powerful, as we not only share history and experience, but also the very substance of our bodies and being, both nurture and nature.

This installation contains pieces of a project I did in 1997 called Jungian Journey. When my mother, Sandy McKinney was almost 50, she joined a Jungian women's group near Santa Fe, New Mexico and embarked on a series of "guided active imaginations", then entered into a more intensive analysis with a Jungian therapist. In the course of this exploration she was encouraged to draw the powerful characters that were emerging from her unconscious. She made 14 pencil drawings and many years later wrote about the whole experience in an unpublished manuscript entitled Promethea.

The small drawings always interested me, and when I came to be about 50 myself, I decided to do a series of paintings responding to these drawings. I tried to universalize my mother's characters a bit by giving them more generic titles than her more personal ones. I called them speaking portraits because they state their case in chalk-like utterances directed to the viewer.

Other elements in the installation make reference to my painting series called The Red Dress, in which the red dress represents the body, or the garment of meat in which we are all clothed. This time the dress is blue, the color of my mother's baby slippers, sky, and water. We are not only meat (red), but also mind (blue). And buttons are falling through the whole thing, connecting me to my mother, and you to me.

A week in DC, installing the Art of Action in the Russell Rotunda

In the April 13, 2010 issue of ROLL CALL, the Capitol Hill Newspaper in DC, this photo appeared. I can't remember (or even imagine, given this photo) what I was doing, but as my son Jonas said, "Apparently there was some crazy lady loose in one of the Senate office buildings with a screwdriver and a shock of wild salt & pepper hair. I think they called in Marlin Perkins to hit her with a tranquilizer dart."

I was there to install an Art of Action exhibit, which was up from April 12 - 16. Here's a more sedate view of the exhibit, at the reception/photo opportunity in the Russell Rotunda, following the coffee hour in Senator Leahy's office.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Disc Dance Still at ECHO in Burlington in the Contraptions Show

Disks are still making happiness happen at the ECHO center. Have you seen it?

More Button Dresses

This is the last of the catch-up projects I decided to do after getting back from Japan. (Actually it was the first piece I worked on after getting back, but I hadn't photographed it before yesterday.)

It uses the last of my antique thread stands, and this one is special because it is a double. Over a year ago I made a sketch of a black and white pair for this stand, and so it was just a question of making it happen. Under the conical bottom of the stand is another antique piece of wood from the Lane Shops that I got from Schuyler Gould.

All my button dresses are sold and gone. This is the only one remaining. It's interesting how these appeal to people. Perhaps it's the charm of the miniature.

13th Green Mountain Film Festival Window

Sunday, March 28 was the last day of the Green Mountain Film Festival. What a great event! I was constantly running into people I hadn't seen for ages and having the pleasure of catching up on their lives. This sense of community (that is almost like extended family) is so important for a healthy public life, and Vermont is still small enough to make it possible. We are really indebted to cultural enterprises like the Savoy, SPA, and Focus on Film that, through the dedication of hard-working and public-spirited visionaries, bring us opportunities to step outside ourselves, get together with others, and connect with the creative life of our species.

It's odd -- several times in the last few weeks I've heard people saying that the 60's generation was self-absorbed and self-indulgent. That is not my experience, as I see the (really quite selfless) efforts of these cultural organizations, most of which are founded, staffed, and supported by my generation.

I did the Rite Aid window for the festival, and took some photos before I removed the work. I went through a few different configurations of the circular elements before I was even slightly satisfied. In the end, I went back to my studio and brought back some of the the new IN THE WEB work from Japan, and felt that brought it together. Nevertheless, it did feel like a bit of a hodge-podge.

I bought the big piece of red fabric last May from the Re-Store in Barre , intending to use it for banners for the CIRCUS show I curated at SPA. It turned out that I only used a bit of it, so it was pressed into service for the window. Maybe hodge-podge is not such a bad thing -- stirring around the pot and re-using, re-purposing, and re-imagining elements already in one's possession.